Sports Illustrated

Why would a team that was 23-43 last season, and is developing a young core, invest so heavily in a player of such advanced age, you ask? Because it’s about basketball and business.

When the Bell and Rogers groups — respective owners of rival sports television networks TSN and SportsNet — agreed to buy majority interest of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment company in December, their shared interest was rooted in a fear that MLSE was going to create a mega-network that would force their loss of Raptors and Leafs programming. The two companies, whose majority ownership is expected to be formalized within the next three months, decided that partnering with a competitor was better than being obliterated by a larger station that would likely have been built in the mold of the Knicks’ MSG network. Nash’s role in this business equation now, of course, would be to play the part of the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin by driving up ratings and re-energizing a fan base that is still reeling from the loss of Chris Bosh to Miami two summers ago.

The Raptors could also use a spike at the gate, as they’ve fallen into the league’s bottom half in home attendance since Bosh’s departure. Toronto ranked 17th last season (average crowd of 16,835) and was 19th in 2010-11 (16,566) after ranking as high as ninth overall during the Bosh era (19.435 in 2007-08).

 

Toronto Sun

The quest for Steve Nash officially got rolling on Canada Day, with much of the Raptors front office meeting with the free agent point guard in Manhattan.

Toronto has offered Nash a three-year contract worth between $30-$36 million U.S.

The New York Knicks also came calling on Nash, but can only offer $3-5 million per season and only the upper figure if a sign-and-trade can be worked out with the Phoenix Suns.

At this point, Phoenix is not interested in coming close to Toronto’s offer, though the Brooklyn Nets could tempt Nash with a similar deal, should Deron Williams decide to go home to Dallas.

The Mavericks reportedly are only interested in giving Nash a huge one-year contract, or a smaller two-year package, while the Indiana Pacers also have shown some interest.

Nash is not expected to make a decision until Williams makes his call — the USA point guard has said he will choose a landing spot prior to the start of USA Basketball’s pre-Olympic camp on Friday.

Only verbal agreements can be made at this point. Teams cannot officially announce anything until the NBA’s moratorium period ends on July 11th.

Sources told the Sun the Raptors also have interest in free agent forwards Andrei Kirilenko and Ersan Ilyasova and the team has long coveted Portland swingman Nic Batum. The Blazers can — and have indicated they will — match any offers to the French national. The Raptors don’t expect to move on another signing or trade until Nash’s landing spot is established.

Toronto Star

Toronto’s contingent included minority owner Larry Tanenbaum, president/GM Bryan Colangelo, head coach Dwane Casey and former Raptor and Canadian national team coach Jay Triano. Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca reported the Raptors also enlisted the aid of hockey icon Wayne Gretzky as part of their video presentation to Nash and his agent, Bill Duffy.

But it is going to take more than a glitzy presentation to entice Nash to a team that’s missed the playoffs for four straight years. It’s nice to think the tug of his home country and a chance to be part of a building process that will cement his Canadian legacy would be important. There are still games to be played, and wins and losses will play a role.

Meanwhile, the one current Raptor who will be most affected by Nash’s decision remains philosophical about his fate.

“I’m still a Raptor. Don’t know what’s going to happen,” Jose Calderon told the Star on Sunday. “When (something) happens, if (something) happens, my agents and myself will see what are the options, amnesty or trades. So I’m just thinking about the Olympics and my national team. And waiting for news.”

The Raptors may need to move Calderon’s salary — just over $10 million for one more season — to get to the financial commitment they’re prepared to make to Nash.

While they could do something like move or amnesty another player with a smaller deal, they may need to maximize their cap room to attract free agents other than Nash.

ESPN

While both Lin and the Knicks are hoping for a reunion, sources say that if any clubs offer Lin, a restricted free agent, a backloaded contract that pays him an eight-figure salary in the third and fourth years, the Knicks could be given pause about matching the offer.

With the new collective bargaining agreement employing a more punitive luxury tax, beginning in the 2013-14 season, the Knicks are extremely concerned about the financial ramifications of such a deal.

Toronto is perhaps the only team that might consider offering Lin a backloaded contract, known as a "poison pill" deal. The Raptors are currently going all-out to sign Steve Nash. Toronto has offered Nash a three-year deal worth $36 million, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

But if Nash, who is also considering Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Brooklyn, rejects Toronto’s offer, the Raptors may turn their attention toward Lin.

The Knicks can offer Lin a four-year deal worth $24.5 million. But an opposing team can offer Lin a poison pill that could go as high as $40 million over four years. Such a contract would pay Lin $5 million in each of the first two years and then go as high as $15 million in each of the last two years.

Bleacher Report

L.A. is paying Gasol $19 million a year to do a mediocre Chris Bosh impersonation. Bosh only got $16 million last season for the actual thing.

Enter the Raptors. They are ideal trading partners for the Lakers in a Gasol deal.

Here’s the trade: L.A. sends Gasol and Metta World Amnesty…er, Peace to Toronto. In return, the Raptors send back Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, and DeMar DeRozan.

Who says no here?

Toronto has made it clear that they’re tired of fruitlessly rebuilding year after year and want to finally give their fans a reason to cheer. How else would you explain them offering free agent (and more importantly, Canadian) point guard Steve Nash a three-year, $36 million contract that ends when Nash is 41 years old?

Trading for Gasol would be excellent bait to lure Nash north of the border. Right now, there’s not much there to entice the two-time MVP, who wants to play meaningful basketball games without purely ring-chasing. Add the most skilled big man in the game for him to work with, and now you’re talking.

The Raptors have been a frequent landing spot for international players. Acquiring Gasol (who’s from Spain) and World Peace (who’s from another planet) would continue that trend.

A revamped frontcourt of Gasol and promising Lithuanian import Jonas Valanciunas would give the Raptors some bite on their front line. They would finally have a big who can score with his back to the basket and World Peace —who seemed revitalized at the end of last season—would immediately become their top perimeter defender.

The Picket Fence

WOULD NASH MAKE THE RAPTORS A CONTENDER?

There are some Raptor fans who actually feel that Nash would turn the Raptors into contenders. To paraphrase Rob Reiner’s mother, in When Harry Met Sally, “I’ll have what they’re having.”

First off, Steve Nash is 38 years old and is not the same player that won consecutive MVP Awards. That was 7 years ago. Most players don’t even play 7 years. It’s a lifetime in the NBA.

That’s not to say that Nash still doesn’t have a big effect on an team he’s on. Phoenix wouldn’t have won 23 games without Nash, let alone the 33 they did won, this past season. The fact that Phoenix was vying for a playoff spot until the last few games is a testament to his impact.

The problem is that Toronto doesn’t have much more talent than Phoenix does, and arguably has less.

Let’s look at Phoenix’s starting lineup last season. Marcin Gortat is better than anyone on the current Raptor team and most likely Valanciunas in his rookie season. Channing Frye doesn’t have Bargnani’s offensive arsenal, but is just as good a three point shooter and a much better rebounder and defensive player. Grant Hill is not nearly the player he used to be, but his veteran savvy gives him more of an effect on the win column than either DeMar DeRozan or James Johnson. And while Jared Dudley is never going to be an All Star, he’s a solid role player that can hit the three and play defense. To say that Toronto’s roster is that much better than Phoenix’s is nonsense.

So if Nash can’t even get Phoenix in the playoffs in the West, do you really expect him to help them contend against team’s like Indiana and Atlanta, let alone Miami and Chicago in the East? That’s bordering on delusional.

The Hot Corner

Toronto is clearly playing the hometown card here as Nash is from Canada. That 3rd year they tacked on to that contract offer makes it a more appealing option for Nash to consider. The  Nets, Mavs are currently looking to see what happens with Deron Williams while the Knicks situation will depend on their negotiations with Jeremy Lin. The scenarios are endless here as for which direction Nash goes in based on the free agent point guard market.
It would be wrong to count out the team Nash has played for so long with, the Phoenix Suns. They could very well step up to the plate and attempt to re-sign Nash.
Money is going to be large factor in this situation for Nash, however the chance to win at this stage in his career should also be at the top of his list. I don’t see that happening with Toronto, although he’d be a major upgrade to their team. He says he’s willing to listen if any team expresses interest and he’s clearly doing just that.

FS Arizona

It is believed that the Suns will offer Nash only a two-year deal. Although they have the cap flexibility to offer him a higher salary, it is unlikely that they would give Nash a raise for a multiyear contract as he approaches 40. The two-time MVP averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists (second in the NBA) last season.

In an interview with ESPN on Saturday, just before the opening of the free-agency period, Nash sounded as though a return to the Suns doesn’t look likely.

"I don’t necessarily feel like they’re determined to keep me," Nash said of the franchise with which he’s spent the last eight seasons and won two MVP awards. "I think there’s a lot of factors. So, one, I’m not sure they’re determined to keep me; two, there’s other opportunities that are exciting. So I think I have to be open-minded."

While the Suns have maintained that they would like to bring Nash back, they appeared to be preparing for his potential departure when they selected North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall with the 13th pick in the draft Thursday.

The Arizona Republic

On this Canada Day, Toronto feels like the favorite to land Nash. He always has expressed some sentimental interest in closing his career for his home country’s lone team. Every Suns game has been like a home game at Air Canada Centre for eight years. Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors president and general manager, was the Suns GM when they landed Nash in 2004 free agency and already loves an international flair to his roster without a Canadian who would give the franchise relevancy. Toronto has plenty of cap space and likely would give Nash the largest overall offer. The Raptors also have a player’s coach in Dwane Casey, who once mentored Nash favorite Gary Payton. Andrea Bargnani could play the role of Dirk Nowitzki for Nash while their recent draft picks — Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan — make them a potential young team on the rise with Nash. Toronto would amnesty Jose Calderon’s contract to create cap and point guard space. Nash has business interests in Toronto and is the new general manager of Canada basketball, which is headquartered in suburban Toronto. The worldly man also loves a cosmopolitan, culture-rich city like Toronto. Aaron Nelson and the Suns’ esteemed athletic training staff have been considered one of best reasons (outside his three kids) for bad-back Nash to stay in the Valley but the presence of Alex McKechnie as Toronto’s director of sports science would give him comfort on the health side.

Air Alamo

Ersan Ilyasova, 25, is an unrestricted free agent and, given his propensity to crash the boards and shoot the ball effectively, expects to receive a big contract this offseason. Ilyasova’s tantalizing skills has the San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors intrigued according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post.
Ilyasova’s combination of rebounding and shooting make him an exceedingly rare commodity on the open market. When you factor in his age his value skyrockets even further. Hoopshype ranked him as the 13th best free agent and Zach Lowe of The Point Forward slotted him as the second best power forward behind Most Improved Player Ryan Anderson

YouTube (NSFW!!)

Yeah, what about him??

 

DeRozan

  • mountio

    Id certainly prefer to not have to throw DD into any PG / MWP deal. Adding Amir or Ed I could maybe get my head around easier (and arguably suits the lakers more as they are giving up an inside presence). However, its not like the Lakers have a long line up of people offering great things for Pau and willing to take on MWP .. so not sure we would need to do either. Either way .. lets make this happen ..

  • URaGuAY

    I can’t believe you actually added Bleacher Report, and The Fuck-it Fence article.

    • Nilanka15

      For a newbie, you seem to know a lot about a poster who hasn’t been here for 6 months….

      • Steve

        ..And you always seem to concern yourself in every conversation about him. :) 6 months you say? Someone’s been keeping track… :):)

        • Nilanka15

          The world’s greatest troll has awakened from his hibernation.  Great post as always, Steve.  You’re a true gift to this site.

          • Steve

            You were trolling another poster, in fact you always do when the picket fence guy is mention :). Do you have a thing for him Nilanka?? :) You always seem to involve yourself whenever he’s mentioned, answer the question :)

      • pran

        you should just take it as a given that steve is some fat motherfucker living in a basement who has nothing better to do than use multiple screennames and insults to get his point of view across lol.

        • Steve

          Thank you for telling us your life story pran, I mean akashsingh, which you also go by :) :)

    • Al_Oliver

      well said

    • John

      Lol, does Tim . W still dares to write about basketball after AB schooled him last year !!!

      • Fuck

         13 games!

        • cesco

          The 13/18 won/lost record when Andrea was playing translate into 34+ wins over an 82 games schedule . Not far from the average 38 wins the team had the last 3 years Bosh was here ( with Andrea + Hedo , etc…) . If they get Nash ( in addition to JV, TRoss , FA/trades ) , we will see if the team does not get 40+ wins this coming year and start doing  better than the Bosh years .

          • sleepz

            LOL, u never give up. Andrea is average.

    • guest

      No kidding…I think I might even add The Star to that list.  Smith has a woody for Calderon that blinds him to what is going on.

  • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

    I read  report NYK have “a little shot” to sign Nash, while Raptors “long shot”. Good. Just waiting Dallas so

  • george

    Since everyone’s so excited about a nothing franchise now, and everybody posting what they aren’t, I was just wondering how Arsenalist views this latest, or did he always recognize what this franchise was about, perhaps with the drafting of #7, or perhaps at the JO stage. I just want to catch up quickly, now that the prevailing sentiment has been cemented.

    • mountio

      You are gonna have to translate this comment if you want a response .. it makes absolutely no sense right now ..

      • george

        Did it become irrelevant gradually?

        • mountio

          it did .. if that was your intent, then mission accomplished..

          • george

            Right a pretty good guide when the knowledgeable  stopped posting here, I get it now.

  • c_bcm

    That Bleacher Report article is asinine.

    • Tinman

      They usually are

  • mountio

    Can we at least all agree that paying Nash anywhere near what we might (gulp) offer Linsanity is a way, way, way better use of money?
    Ill take a past his prime professional who can help draw free agents over a flash in the pan that had a nice 20 game run (and could be out of the league a year from now for all we know) any day of the week ..
    http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/8121358/backloaded-offer-jeremy-lin-give-new-york-knicks-pause-re-sign-sources-say

  • DoNDaDDa

    i hope we dont do somthing as stupid as sign Lin to tht speculated poison pill deal..the only team in the league it would poison is the team Lin’s on in those final years of the deal..

     for all those peeps who think throwing money at nash is a bad idea… throwing boat loads at Lin is a collosal mistake

    ill take Nash thank you

  • Rapsody

    It seems a lot of fans are pretty neutral on the Nash signing. They see it for what it is (business) and don’t really see anything wrong with it. It’s kind of a…”What the heck, it’s not like we got anything else going on…”

    That, to me, is the problem. BC is supposed to be a tactician-supreme. He’s supposed to have set up the Raps with tons of flexibility to add long-term quality pieces, to build a perennial contender.

    I’d rather wait, and go with what we have. Keep Jose, keep Sonny, sign Machado…whatever. Let the young grow. I’d rather get one more lottery pick, and go playoffs in 2014, if that’s what it takes.

    Kenny once sang “You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em….”

    P.S. Illyasova? I like him. Not sure what we’d do with either Amir or Ed. Amir didn’t do to bad as a center. Just saying….

    NO NASH, NO NASH NO NASH….

    • Geo

      how does signing nash prevent the young guys from growing? if anything they will learn from him and take their game to the next level….and i dont think sonny is a part of this team anymore. as of the comment you made about BC, how do you know that this isnt part of his plan..you want him to use his flexibility and have a good product, yet when he goes after on of the most proffesional players this free agency, a player might i add will not deter any young growth, you bash him for it. 
       
      stop hating let the man do his job he has made a youth movement and now its time to get the young guys some playoff experience

      • Daniel

        When did nash play with rookies and young players? All his career at Dallas or Phoenix they wanted to win gtherefore they had practically no rookies. The assumptions made about Nash joining the Raptors are mind-boggling: mentor, contender, etc. The facts are that the Suns, with better talent, have not made the play-offs in the last 3 years, that he never mentored anybody or proved that he can play with young players, that he failed the only time the Suns brought a defensive-minded coach, that he plays a position that is already a strngth for this team while we need starters at SG, SF and C.
        I finally understood the Raps’ strategy: when everything else fails just wrap yourself in the national flag and on Canada Day make a crazy offer to the best Canadian basketball player. Never mind that it doesn’t make any sense from a basketball point of view as long as it make sense from a business point of view. This is the lowest an organization can go. What are the odds of this strategy blowing up? My estimate is that there is an 80% likelihood this move will be a failure. Then how long will the initial excitement last? If Nash’s back doesn’t hold up or we don’t make the play-offs what will be the Plan B? Desperate measures are all or nothing: not a good place to be as an organization.
        In addition if Nash doesn’t sign here the damage left by this attempt will be huge. I’m not sure the other players on this roster are happy with what’s happening when they all declared they consider Calderon a leader. It is shocking that the organization didn’t learn anything from Hakeem’s move who had a PER of 20.7 in his last year in Houston.    

        • Geo

          who on the phx suns played better than andrea last season? are you  telling me that demar is worsse than jared dudley or shannon brown? arguably the best sun player other than nash last season was hill and he had injury problems and yet they were in the playoff hunt in a much stronger conference.

          And nash has played with young players but not a young team…please man if your gonna say something make it plausible….also explain how signing nash isnt a basketball move, what young pg do you want to go after? lowry?

  • DoNDaDDa

    id prefer to just stick with Jose if our only other option is Lin!!!

    • Geo

      i was listening to espn the herd, chris boussard came on and said if toronto doesnt land nash tonronto will is gonna go hard after lin, probbably a 4 year contract 40 mil

  • Bendit

    Now that was some aneurysm inducing reaction from the committed DD fan in the vid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oscar.guillen.g Oscar Guillen

    I rather have Nash over Lin or over nothing!…there no one else out there that MLSE can say ‘at lease we are trying’ i want them to use all the money they possible can, overpaid or get noticed doing something stupid like trading for WorldPeace but do some thing god damm! I need a reason to keep buying tickets or catch the games on TV and no lose total interest like we all doing with the other Toronto teams! 

  • guest

    Sports Illustrated gets it! At the end of the day they will be better with Nash than with Calderon as well as any rookie pg they would have gotten and that includes Lin.

  • pran

    lmao, is the “what about the derozan!!” guy the same “fucking rudy gay mann!!” person?  
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK7lIjFsGvg